Category Archives: New England Artists

Featured Artist: Pamela Smith

“Painting for me is like traveling—openly going into the unknown not knowing what to expect.”

– Pamela Smith (From an interview with Vermont Art Guide)
GirlonWhiteBuck PamelaSmith 2800 1 Featured Artist Pamela Smith
Pamela Smith, Girl on White
PamelaSmith MovingStill Zimmy Featured Artist Pamela Smith
Pamela Smith, Zimmy
PamelaSmith Aretha Featured Artist Pamela Smith
Pamela Smith, Aretha

We recently came across the work of Vermont self-taught painter and sculptor, Pamela Smith (1950 -). Her works of art are playful, bright compositions made with crayon, ink, and gouache. The whimsical influence of folk art is seen in her paintings.

Smith is best known for her life-size sculptures of the Madonna, which she created, often alongside her daughter, in order to honor and celebrate motherhood. She displayed her multicultural Madonna sculptures in the front window of Folkheart, a store in Bristol, Vermont, which she and her partner, Slim Pickens owned. (Yes, that’s the correct name!) Seven of her Madonna sculptures are part of the permanent collection of the American Visionary Art Museum – one of our favorite art museums.

More of her work can be viewed at Northern Daughters, which is a contemporary art gallery in Vergennes, Vermont. There are several other talented artists to check out on their website.

Gayleen Aiken

Aroundfrontporch Gayleen Aiken
Raimbillibackyard Gayleen Aiken

Ourmusicroom Gayleen AikenGayleen Aiken (1934-2005) was a self-taught artist from Barre, Vermont. Many of her artworks feature a family of 24 imaginary cousins called the Raimbilli Cousins. She invented them when she was a child.

A review in the New York Times from 2013 aptly describes her work:

“Carefully detailed and quirkily annotated pencil and crayon drawings of musical instruments, rural homes in zooming perspective and the inner workings of a granite gravestone company, whose raw material comes from nearby quarries, exude infectious curiosity about the world around her. There is much commotion in her works.”

Aiken passed away in 2005, leaving behind a large body of artwork, including handmade books, paintings, and cardboard figures. To view more of her work, visit the Gayleen Aiken Collection page at GRACE (Grass Roots Art and Community Effort).


Image Credits:
1) Grace ©Gayleen Aiken, From the book Entertaining
2) Grace ©Gayleen Aiken, Ye Old Back Yard
3) Grace ©Gayleen Aiken, Our Music Room